Universal Access To All Knowledge
Home Donate | Store | Blog | FAQ | Jobs | Volunteer Positions | Contact | Bios | Forums | Projects | Terms, Privacy, & Copyright
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload

Reply to this post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jan 5, 2007 5:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

I've been meaning to do this for a while.

Just an admittedly subjective Top 10 Dead shows list, fully realizing that to do a top 10 out of the thousands of performances is a bit like trying to speed-read War and Peace, but, i figure even if you disagree w/the list you'll at the very least agree that none of these shows disappoint. If one crosses your transom that did not before and you hear it and like it, so much the better, and i'm hoping this humble submission will inspire other postings of Top Ten shows!

Caveats: First thing you'll notice is there are no shows on the list prior to 1970, which would lead some to--perhaps justifiably--ignore the list. The way I see it, because the original brand of psychedlic acid-test-era Dead is not really why I started liking the band and just doesn't move me the way the later stuff does, I'm the last person qualifed enough to recommend a good 60's show. I leave that to the myriad of posters here who know far better than I the best shows from that era to lend a helping hand for those shows.


I refrain from using "best of" when describing songs from these shows which i really do believe ARE the best ever, just cause I know it's in the end subjective. (But again, i guarantee you won't be disappointed w/the choices ;-)

Instead I'll use the "Favorite All Time", or FAT acronym and put those songs in FAT CAPS in the reviews.

Peace and love to all you grateful dead brothers and sisters, and now, on to the TOP 10!

#1. 10/29/77, Dekalb, Illinois.

The only show actually ranked on this list. None of the others are in any particualr order save this....my FAT show.

I've talked about this show so MUCH over time I feel like Linus trying to convince kids that the Great Pumpkin is coming. When I eat mashed potatoes I make carvings out of Evan's Fieldhouse like i'm Dreyfuss in Close Encounters. The show is a perfect storm of precision 1977 top notch performing, and pulsing, jazzy, rocked out jamming. Front to end. FAT versions of all the following:

BERTHA, MIGHT AS WELL, FOTD,JACK STRAW, EYES OF THE WORLD,BLACK PETER, ST STEPHEN, SUGAR MAGNOLIA. There are 8 songs on that list. Some pretty heavy duty. I stand by every one of them as a FAT. And the others are all simply great. I just urge every Deadhead to listen to it, and to go back and listen again if for some reason you weren't moved the first time. Listen to the impromptu Drum roll Mickey and Billy do at the end of Sugar Mag...listen to the jam in Jack Straw leading into-- and the vocals on-- the "Jack Straw from Withita" line...Jerry belting out Might as Well like he was back on the train in Canada...the jazz feel of Eyes as Jerry goes from Wes Montgomery ease in the intro into blazing Santana-like riffs in the developing jam...the Bluesy rendition of Stephen...OK, I'll stop. But boy do I love that show.

#2. 5-8-77, Cornell.

C'mon. I don't want to hear the words "overrated". It got attention for a reason. The legendary Scarlet>Fire is legendary for a reason. Phil's opening bassline alone is worth the price of admission. And if your jaw doesn't drop listening to that Dew, you're from Vulcan or something.

#3. 5-9-77, Buffalo, NY.

Better than Cornell by a nose. Well, more adventurous at any rate. We've all raved about the Help>Slip>Franklin's, and w/good reason. But there are also smaller nuggets of gold within this show, i.e. a FAT SHIP OF FOOLS.

#4. 4-16-78, Huntington Civic Ctr., VA.

Whew! Finally out of 1977. Thing about 1978 is, how do you top '77? It's like being a ventriloquist act following the Beatles debut on Ed Sullivan. My feeling about '78 is Jerry especially wanted to go beyond '77 in terms of raw power and emotional playing. And most of the time they did! This is a rowdy, raucous, try-anything-like even -go-to Egypt kinda year, but something got lost along the way--usually the tightness they exhibited the year before. You get a lot of hard rocking, but sloppily played shows. And then you get this. The exception. This show is tight, it jams, it rocks, it kicks ass and takes names, then decides it doesn't want the names, and kicks those....While perhaps not quite a FAT, this SCARLET>FIRE is always in the top 3....blazing Eyes, killer slow-mambo IKO... helluva strong show.

#5. 1-10-79, Nassau Coliseum, NY.

Following night was my first show. No complaints, it was great and blew my li'l mind.... But this show is a monster. Gritty, jamming, desperate dead. Heavy on the Jerry rock-blues sound. FAT MIRACLE, FAT SHAKEDOWN. What Jerry does on Shake as he snakes his way thru the jam amazes me every time. Oh, you also get a killer DarkStar AND a Stephen. Great Stagger Lee and Passenger in set 1. Brilliant show.

#6. 6-22-73, Vancouver, BC.

This show, sounds, feels, swims in the ears just like a dream. The FAT BIRDSONG will tell you what I mean by that. There's a quality to the band's playing this show that's hard to describe, combined with an appreciative but quiet-at-the-right-time crowd that brings this etherial quality to the whole performance. My favorite AUD tape ever. A typical 1973 set list, which means for song selection, it can't be beat. They really gave folks their money's worth with those marathon '73 shows.

#7. 9-25-81, Lehigh Univ.

I always felt if you took set 1 from the Hampton show of 5-1-81 (which I came so close to putting on this list) and combined it with set 2 of THIS night...you'd have the perfect Brent-era Dead show. Not that there's anything wrong w/the first set from this night, but set 2 is where you get transported. FAT SAMSON-just listen to what Brent is doing...a top 3 Scarlet>Fire...a couple of lyric flaws from Jerry in FIRE, but believe me when I say it does nothing to rob this FIRE of its power. Unbelievable lines played by Jerry. The Scarlet jam into fire explores everywhere before hitting the FIRE on the beat--roaring from the get-go. Grand Wheel, killer SugarMag, a Sailor-Saint that's jammin'...a very long and intense second set. (Note: I've yet to find a pristine recording of this show).

#8. 4-19-82, Baltimore, MD.

Yes, the infamous nitrous-induced Ravenspace (Phil reciting EAP makes this Space a definite FAT ;-)
But there's so much more. All players on top of their game. FAT ESTIMATED, and still the only one i've ever heard where they come back around to the refrain after the jam. FAT STELLA (and that's saying a lot because I revere that song). Great Franklin's, a stellar Terrapin, a strong, fun first set. What more could you ask for?

#9. 10-12-84, Augusta, ME.

'84 gets a bad rap but among some train wrecks there were some real stunning successes. This is the best of 'em. First set is just fine, w/a FAT COLD RAIN &SNOW. But it's the 2nd set that boggles the brain. FAT UNCLE JOHN'S BAND, and the jam that flows in and out of Playin' and Space that follows takes you on a journey of wonderment, spilling out into a FAT MORNING DEW. That song usually is judged by its pay off 'matter anyway' ending vocal, and fine it is here, but where Jerry really lets the Blues hound out is in the earlier set up verses, like 'ThoughtI Heard a Young Man Moan this morning...."....chills. Magic show.

#10 and 10A. (OK, that's cheating. But these two shows enter together to round out the Top 10 because they're the only two shows on the list I actually went to. So cut me some slack.
7-18-89, Alpine Valley, WI.

Worth the price of admission for the SugarMag>Scarlet...they pull off the transition like it's a magic trick. Whole 2nd set is amazing...great ChinaDoll, Eyes...the boys rebounded big time 1989, and this show is a good example.

3-29-90, Nassau Coliseum.

My Buddy: "Comeon, it's a free ticket, just go..."
Me: "Naw,man, I don't wanna come all the way out from the city to the Island to see these guys again...they were good in Alpine Valley and that's how I want to remember them. I'm just so sick of that whole scene now with the Gate crashers and the scalpers selling $100 tickets and kids in BMW's buying them..."
MB: Dude, you sound like your 94 years old. Don't be an asshole. I'm offering you a free ticket."
ME: Fine, OK< whatever, but i'm telling you, they're just playing out the string now, it's not going to be a good show.
ME, (at the show): "Hey...who is that with the sax? That's not...it couldn't be...that's...that's BRANFORD MARSALIS.
ME for rest of show: (Speechless)

So that's it. Enjoy, and may the Four Winds blow you safely home :-)
GC

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: high flow Date: Jan 5, 2007 10:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

WOW! Grendels! That's epic.

Funny, I've been bolstering the 1977 portion of my personal archive. I'll be keeping your words in mind whilst I sink my teeth into those you have mentioned.

Nice work!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Max Chorak Date: Jan 6, 2007 1:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

hey grendel, ya forgot "let it grow" in your 10-29-77 show!!! haha

I hope you got new minglewood blues in there too --

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jan 6, 2007 7:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Max...the LIG from 10-29-77 came THIS CLOSE to being a FAT...it's outstanding....BUT, if i'm honest about it, my FAT LET IT GROW comes from Hampton, VA., 5-1-81, which empties into a FAT DEAL as well.

MINGLEWOOD I will have to back and listen to, b/c I have to be honest, the song does almost nothing for me. I skip over it a lot when listening to 10/29/77, as I do the LLR. But I should give that M-Wood another shot b/c if you say it's that good....(i won't budge on LLR, though. Hate that damn song; automatic bathroom break for me!)

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: cosmicharlie Date: Jan 6, 2007 7:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

what? you don't like the sound of stray cats making love???

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jan 6, 2007 7:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

...and that's not gonna cha-aaa-aaaange..."

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Jan 6, 2007 7:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Hello, Grendelschoice. Thank you for a lovely, enthusiastic post all about the music for a change. There's much there I haven't heard yet so thanks for opening some new avenues up for exploration.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Jan 5, 2007 8:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Great edgy Estimated/Eyes here, Cliff had to stream twice!

Did the Dead do a bad show in 1977?

http://www.archive.org/details/gd77-10-29.sbd.kempa.280.sbeok.shnf

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: JodyC Date: Jan 6, 2007 10:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Your knowledge and insight has been missed. Thanks for the post/thread.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jan 6, 2007 11:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

My pleasure, Jody..

...now let's see some other lists from folks--I have a bunch of blank CD's waiting to be filled w.more DeadMagic!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: JodyC Date: Jan 6, 2007 11:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Go to the second page of the forum under a thread called Old Subject. Theres a list of 10 or 12 shows that were part of something called Oprahs Choices, a show of the week thread. Theres some good ones there for starters.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 5, 2007 8:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Interesting list. 77 wins big. I have come around to appreciating that year much moreso than when I found the forum a few months back.

Curious, since you know the time well: do you find a bigger 'difference' between your beloved 77 shows and 81 or 73? Odd question, but just curious if you think they changed more, in any way or another, in one temporal direction or the other...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jan 6, 2007 6:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

William...excellent question. I do find a difference w/my beloved '77 shows, but in no way does that diminish how I feel about a great '81 or '73.

The difference is that I feel you could pick virtually any show from '77 (and I had a hard time leaving 5-17, 5-25, 5-4, and some others off the list) and be confident you were goinf to get a fluid, yet jamming performance. Take a song like HALF STEP, for example. Listen to any version prior to '77, or after...there are some nice ones, yes. But do any of them feature the crescendo jams found in, for examaple, 11-6-77? Jerry nails all the words, the song sounds effortless, AND it rocks.

I just feel that there was a choppiness to the sound after '77...like the boys were drifting more into each playing their own thing at the same time rather than achieving a simultaneous whole of flowing together in the same musical river. Now, sometimes, those experiments worked beautifully,(see the 10-12-84) and the addition of Brent was a necessary element to moving the band's sound forward (he was also superior vocally to Donna in every way, which is why my favorite STELLA is from 4-19-82 and not some '77 show)....I guess what I feel separates '77 is that consistent precision COMBINED with the sick jams...I think a song like PLAYIN', which they seemed to play at virtually every show in '77, shows how great they were that year. Pick any from that year and they were all top notch, bridging beautifully into other songs like Terrapin, Wharf Rat, Comes a Time, etc.

One thing critics have rightly pointed out about '77 is that there is not a lot of variety in the set lists. (and no Birdsong--man, I would LOVE to have heard them do that tune that year). I actually think this is part of the reason they played so well. They were concentrating on many of the same tunes, and so had them nailed down well. That's OK w/me, but I can understand how a more ambitious listener might prefer a '76 set list that's all over the map...but objectively, playing-wise, i don't think can even come close to the power and majesty of '77.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 6, 2007 7:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Very sharp analysis; I like that. I can't describe the differences as well, but felt (at the time I was going) that there were significant differences, and I stopped going (81). Might have had as much to do with the changing scene as anything.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ganges Date: Jan 6, 2007 5:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Hi Grendelschoice,

77 is my favourite year as well, I have read you praising 10-29-77 and after that got the Aud from here a while back, it is a GREAT show, I'm wondering if you know of a better copy somewhere, like a torrent, I don't know all the torrent sites and I don't see it at GDLive.

I've got some favourite shows here, I don't know if these are the top 10, though, but maybe...

2-15-73
6-30-74
6-11-76
6-14-76
5-7-77
5-26-77
10-2-77
10-29-77
7-8-78
6-20-80

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jan 6, 2007 7:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

Ganges, I'm bit-torrent challenged so I don't know of a pristine BT copy of 10-29-77...but I actually discovered that show on a bootlegged CD SBD copy, which I have and would burn for you MP3 style, if you want it. It's not leaps and bounds better-sounding than the AUD copy...just a little cleaner...also, be forewarned that only the AUD version has the un-edited full 10+ min. S-Mags...on the SBD copy there is an expert edit that cuts out a verse (skipping thru rays of violet, etc.) but you wouldn't even notice, it's very well done. Still, it does chop a decent amount of time off the AUD version.

email me at grendelchoice@yahoo.com if you'd like a snail-mail copy sent to you (yes, leave off the 's' in grendelchoice on that email)..

Nice picks of your own there! I will have to check out some i'm not familiar with...it was very hard for me not to put some of those (10/2/77, 5/26/77 and others) on the list...which is why the Top 10 idea is so limiting (but fun!)

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ganges Date: Jan 6, 2007 7:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Humbly submitted: GrendelschoiceTopTen

+ Europe 72 and Veneta, OR 72